Online marketing trends come and go, and with 2016 more than half over, I wanted to touch on four trends that cannot be ignored.
Will these change? Of course; digital marketing is constantly evolving, but for right now, it's important that you take note of these trends below.
1. Snapchat isn't just for kids.
Snapchat is quickly becoming the social media platform of choice -- and it isn't just the kids getting in on the action. It took some time, but they appear to have penetrated the adult demographic, as more brands are adding it to their social strategy.
If you are still on the fence about Snapchat or not quite sure how to implement it into your marketing strategy, take a look at how Gary Vaynerchuk is leveraging its reach and engagement to build his personal brand. His YouTube channel is a great place to watch his DailyVee vlog.
Snapchat is participating in some very creative campaigns to attract the older crowd, like these branded airport security trays:
2. Optimize for mobile first, not second.
Over the past few years there has been an emphasis on optimizing for mobile traffic, but mobile isn't playing second fiddle any longer. I can tell you from personal experience -- consulting for a wide variety of brands and industries -- that mobile traffic is what you need to focus on first.
It's the dominant traffic source and if your customers can't easily convert on your website via their phone you are dead in the water. Every little detail needs to be well thought out. Things like:
- Can a potential customer easily contact my business with a few taps on his or her mobile device?
- Can the purchase process be effortlessly completed on a mobile device?
- Is my mobile experience more pleasant than my competition's?
3. User experience is everything.
It doesn't matter if you are ranking at the top spot in Google for every keyword you are targeting -- a poor user experience will prevent conversions from happening. Every single industry needs to focus on improving user experience (UX), even ones that traditionally never thought about it.
Shi Guang, CEO of Surplus Industrial Equipment recently focused on improving the experience his website provided, stating, "It was never something we even thought about. We assumed that as long as we had an item listed on our website, our customers would find it. After giving our website an overhaul, focusing on improving that user experience, we have seen a tremendous spike in sales. Making it as easy as possible to locate and purchase every item we stock should be a top priority for every business owner."
Poll your users and find out what they love and hate about your website. Use this information to create a UX that converts traffic and ultimately drives more revenue.
4. Email marketing isn't dead -- you just need to be smarter about your approach.
As of noon today, I have received more than 25 marketing emails. Only two of them were from a company I gave permission to email me. The rest were spam; sent from companies that scraped my email from somewhere or it was included in a list that they purchased.
When I receive an unsolicited spam email from a brand I immediately think poorly of them, and will never do business with them. Those unwanted marketing emails clog up my inbox and waste my time.
Spend the time and money to build an email list the right way -- 100 percent opt-in. Your results will be much better because you are mailing to a list of highly targeted prospects that want to hear from you. Bigger is not always better. I can promise you that your results will be better from an opt-in list of 1,000 than they would be from sending a mass email to 100,000 untargeted recipients.
Don't always send emails that are entirely advertisements, either. Mix in some helpful information and fun. This helps you build a relationship with your audience, keeping them engaged and subscribed to your list.
Jonathan Long is the Founder & CEO of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing agency that provides SEO coaching and online marketing consulting. Jonathan also created EBOC.co (Entrepreneurs & Business Owners Community), a private business forum. Follow him on Twitter.